ARC #Giveaway Subject A36 (The Colony Series #1) #YA #scifi #fantasy

Subject A36 won’t be officially released until February 13th, 2020, but this is your chance to win an ARC before publication!

It’s not hard to enter.  All you need to do is:
1.  Tell me your favorite holiday movie (any holiday) in the comments below.
2.  Add Subject A36 to your Goodreads list HERE.

Entries are open until midnight Wednesday, December 11th, and the winner will be chosen at random and announced Friday, December 13th.  The giveaway will also run on my Facebook page and Instagram @tpolen6.  Good luck!

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

Ashlords by Scott Reintgen #bookreview #YA #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races in this epic fantasy following three phoenix horse riders–skilled at alchemy–who must compete at The Races–the modern spectacle that has replaced warfare within their empire.

Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they’ve raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races.

Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That’s all legal and encouraged. 

In this year’s Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest–a champion’s daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary’s son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?

With comp titles like Red Rising and The Scorpio Races, combined with a stunning cover and intriguing description, I jumped at the invitation to read and review Ashlords.  Being a fan of Reintgen’s Nyxia Triad series, I anticipated an exciting read, but this?  Completely above and beyond my expectations.

Phoenix horses – what an outstanding concept.  Toss in alchemy, a Hunger Games-ish race, gods, spirits, a brewing war, and you’ve got an addictive read.  I have to admit, the world-building overwhelmed me a bit at first, but I settled in by the second chapter.

And the characters!  Three POVs:  Imelda – a talented alchemist and underdog, Adrian – probably the biggest threat to the Ashlords and the face of the rebellion, and Pippa – the daughter of two champions and favorite to win.  Pippa’s POV is in second person, something I haven’t come across in YA fiction.  You may start out rooting for one, but will likely change your mind more than once before it’s over.  Don’t underestimate any of them.

There’s more than the race going on in this novel.  With war, rebellion, and unrest stirring, the next book in this duology promises to be just as compelling.  From nearly the first page, this action-packed, intense plot races (almost literally) to the finish.  I can’t wait for the next book – bring on the next rebirth!

This book is scheduled for publication January 21, 2020.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Day Zero (Day Zero Duology #1) by Kelly deVos #bookreview #YA #dystopian #scifi

If you’re going through hell…keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

Warning:  Only read this book if you have several uninterrupted hours.  Otherwise, you’ll forget or ignore everything else requiring your attention.

It all starts out normal enough with Jinx and her stepsister picking up her brother after school and stopping for an errand before going home.  Minutes after, life will never be the same for them.  Political unrest (eerily similar to our current political climate), a rigged election, a country torn apart by differing viewpoints, doomsday prep, twists that jump out of nowhere – I flew through this book in two days.  These characters are on the run almost immediately, and there’s rarely any downtime.  Jinx’s father, “Dr. Doomsday”, had prepared her and Charles (the adorable younger brother you just want to hug) so well, I was tempted to write down and laminate his rules for survival and stick it on my fridge.

Jinx and MacKenna’s character arcs are fantastic.  When pushed to unfathomable limits, they discover what they’re capable of and the lengths they’re willing to go to survive.  The relationships between the siblings and step-siblings is done extremely well.  Something I missed was a bit more explanation on the connection between Navarro and Jinx, but maybe it’s something that will be expanded on in the next book.

Day Zero is a thrilling whirlwind of intrigue that grabs hold of you from the first page.  The next book can’t be released soon enough for me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Author Bio: KELLY DEVOS is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection. Her debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane, named one of the “50 Best Summer Reads of All Time” by Reader’s Digest magazine, is available now from HarperCollins. Kelly’s work has been featured in the New York Times as well as on Salon, Vulture and Bustle.

 

 

#CoverReveal Subject A36 (The Colony Series #1) #YA #scifi #fantasy

A lot of you know how I struggled to name this book.  It was referred to as Book 3 for so long, I wasn’t sure if it would ever have a proper title.  But thanks to Staci Troilo and her perfectly apt suggestion, that day finally came.  Thanks to Black Rose Writing designer, David King, the cover wasn’t quite as difficult to come by.  And today, I’m so excited to reveal it!

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

I’m loving this cover!  The release date is February 13th, 2020, and paperback copies are available for preorder through Black Rose Writing here.  Use promo code PREORDER2019 for a 15% discount!  I’ll post an update when the ebook preorder is available on Amazon.

The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings #bookreview #YA #dystopian

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

I’ve had this in my TBR for far too long, and after finishing it, I’m sorry I didn’t get to it sooner.

When another author friend recommended this book, I looked it up and loved the premise.  Having La Femme Nikita as a comp title was just icing on the cake.  Trained assassins, a government who tracks population numbers, a fierce female protagonist, and family secrets – what’s not to like?  Be warned – this is a dark storyline with violence and some graphic deaths, so it may not be to everyone’s taste; however, if you enjoy thrilling plot twists and outstanding action sequences, this could be for you.  I felt like the romance happened at the speed of lightning (literally love at first sight for one of the characters), but it didn’t really overshadow the plot.

Several reviewers have commented on the violence, but I felt it was comparable to The Hunger Games.  I’ve already downloaded the next book, and I guarantee it won’t take me so long to read this one.

Containment (Sanctuary #2) by Caryn Lix #bookreview #YA #scifi

They may have escaped Sanctuary, but Kenzie and her friends are far from safe.

Ex-Omnistellar prison guard Kenzie and her superpowered friends barely made it off Sanctuary alive. Now they’re stuck in a stolen alien ship with nowhere to go and no one to help them. Kenzie is desperate for a plan, but she doesn’t know who to trust anymore. Everyone has their own dark secrets: Omnistellar, her parents, even Cage. Worse still, she’s haunted by memories of the aliens who nearly tore her to shreds—and forced her to accidentally kill one of the Sanctuary prisoners, Matt.

When Kenzie intercepts a radio communication suggesting that more aliens are on their way, she knows there’s only one choice: They must turn themselves in to Omnistellar and destroy the ship before the aliens follow the signal straight to them. Because if the monstrous creatures who attacked Sanctuary reach Earth, then it’s game over for humanity.

What Kenzie doesn’t know is that the aliens aren’t the only ones on the hunt. Omnistellar has put a bounty on Kenzie’s head—and the question is whether the aliens or Omnistellar get to her first. 

I read the first book in this series, Sanctuary, last summer and referred to it as a mixture of Alien and X-Men.  I was thrilled to receive an ARC of book two.

First, I have to comment on the book covers – they’re beautiful, bold, and completely eye-catching.  It’s easy to tell they’re part of the same series.  To say this diverse cast of characters experienced traumatic events in Sanctuary is an understatement.  Because of what happened to them, some are understandably suffering from PTSD – which is something you don’t see addressed very often in YA novels and is handled very well.

This author is brilliant at ending chapters on exciting cliffhangers.  I’d plan to read a couple of chapters before bed, then wind up going through two more because I had to know what happened next.  Character development is also a strength, and it’s easy to see how these characters have evolved from the first book.

Pacing was a bit of an problem for me.  This book sits at around 500 pages, and I felt it could have been tightened in some areas.  Kenzie is dealing with a lot of issues – guilt, relationship woes, death of a parent – and her internal thoughts about this take up a chunk of the first 50% of the book to the extent I felt it overshadowed what was happening in front of her.  I read an ARC, so this may change with the final version.

Containment ends on a cliffhanger (just like most of the chapters!), so I’ll be anxious to read the next book in the series.  If you enjoy high stakes sci-fi that ventures into the horror arena, I’d recommend this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

 

How We Became Wicked by Alexander Yates #bookreview #YA #scifi #TuesdayBookBlog

A plague, called Wicked, is pulsing through the world; and in its wake, it’s dividing the population into thirds:

The WICKED: Already infected by the droves of Singers, the ultraviolet mosquito-like insects who carry the plague, the Wicked roam the world freely. They don’t want for much—only to maim and dismember you. But don’t worry: They always ask politely first.

The TRUE: The True live in contained, isolated communities. They’re the lucky ones; they found safety from the Singers. And while the threat of the Wicked may not be eliminated, for the True, the threat has certainly been contained…

The VEXED: The Vexed are the truly fortunate ones—they survived the sting of the Singers, leaving them immune. But they’re far from safe. The Vexed hold the key to a cure, and there are those who will do anything to get it.

I’m always up for a post-apocalyptic plague story.  I’ve read several, but this novel puts a fresh spin on the typical version.

Some reviews have referred to the Wicked as zombies.  I didn’t see them that way at all.  They’re almost childlike, but retain most of their memories and are able to function and take care of themselves.  It’s unnerving, because it can be difficult to tell they’re Wicked.  They’re lethal and, given the chance, will kill you in spectacular ways.  However, as with children, their attention can usually be diverted – at least for a little while.  Maybe enough time to get to safety.  Maybe not.  Don’t underestimate them.

There’s a clever plot twist toward the end.  It’s something I suspected early on, but that didn’t make it any less ingenious, and it gives the whole story a new perspective.

How We Became Wicked isn’t just a post-apocalyptic story, it’s also about the sacrifices we make to save our loved ones.  And how some people can so easily sacrifice others to save themselves.  The ending leaves me to believe there may be a sequel.  If so, I’ll definitely be looking for it.  This novel is scheduled for release July 23, 2019.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.